In The Last of the Doughboys, Richard Rubin introduced listeners to a forgotten generation of Americans: the men and women who fought and won the First World War. Interviewing the war's last survivors face-to-face, he knew well the importance of being present if you want to get the real story. But he soon came to realize that to get the whole story, he had to go Over There, too. So he did, and discovered that while most Americans regard that war as dead and gone, to the French, who still live among its ruins and memories, it remains very much alive. Years later, with the centennial of the war only magnifying this paradox, Rubin decided to go back Over There to see if he could, at last, resolve it.
For months he followed the trail of the American Expeditionary Forces on the Western Front, finding trenches, tunnels, bunkers, century-old graffiti and ubiquitous artifacts. But he also found an abiding fondness for America and Americans, and a colorful corps of local after-hours historians and archeologists who tirelessly explore these sites and preserve the memories they embody while patiently waiting for Americans to return and reclaim their own history and heritage. None of whom seemed to mind that his French needed work.
Based on his wildly popular New York Times series, Back Over There is a timely journey, in turns reverent and iconoclastic but always fascinating, through a place where the past and present are never really separated.
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Sometimes the past seems too distant to grasp on any human level. This work brings a chapter in the Great War to life through the actions of American Doughboys. The geography, history and rememberances of generations after the events.
I'm a fairly avid History buff. I remember when a child, meeting an uncle of my father who had been gassed in World War I. He was a grumpy, mean spirited man probably in his early 60's and I could never imagine him as a young man, with aspirations and his whole life ahead of him. This work brings the people to life. And brings that Time to life.
Passion, thoroughly familiar. He is, afterall, the author of the work. And actually he's a fairly decent narrator. Actually, my research says he has done voice talent for NPR. Among lots of other things.
To tell the truth, I wasn't sure what to expect. I had some extra AUDIBLE credits and as I hunted around, this and Rubin's other audio book work " Thr Last of the Doughboys" showed up in my search. So I'm pleased! Both are interesting, educational and historical but written in a personable way.
This has been an eye opening listen. I've learned quite a bit and it wasn't even painful! lol. If you have an interest in World War I, history, etc. you might give this a listen.It's worth both the Audible credit and my listening time investment. And I can see myself relistening sometime in the future.
- in1ear (John Row)
Tour the French countryside of the Great War
Richard Rubin takes the listener along on his visits to the battle scenes of 100 years ago in France. His words create pictures that illustrate the military history he describes clearly. His stories of the people affected by the Great War are fascinating. I felt as though I were there with him during his travels through the battlefields and wanted to fly to France to see for myself. I loved this book and Richard Rubin was the perfect narrator for his book. A great achievement.